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Post news RSS Recording Creaky Doors and Bird Wings

Here's a little post about recording some sound effects of creaky, groaning doors and how to simulate the sound of birds flapping.

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Hello there, lovers of audio and reading.

I haven't really written anything audio related on IndieDB before, so I thought it might be interesting to start.

I have been making sound effects for the official Through the Woods demo these past few weeks, and this past week has seen me singing creepy Norwegian lullabies, scraping guitar strings with bits of wood, recording twig snaps and leaves blowing in the wind and such. I also spent an evening with our programmer, Torstein, at little my studio, adding all the new sounds to the game and finally getting to drop in 3D sounds and mix everything properly. But some of the most fun recordings I made were of a super creaky door at my house and simulating birds flying away from the player character when disturbed.

When we moved in to our current house, my girlfriend and I lived a long time with really old, creaky doors. She eventually got tired of my laziness and used some kind of cooking oil to stop them groaning so sadly, but, thankfully, one of them still sings its dirty, rusty song.

Creaky Door

The sound of the door in the game is directional which means the audio will end up as a mono file, which you can happily record with a single microphone. But after a little listening I found the top and bottom hinges made very different sounds. The top hinge had a squeaky scream and the bottom hinge had a lot of bassy groan towards the end of the door swing. I got my Neumann U87 and his faithful sidekick, an Audio Technica AT4040, aimed the Neumann at the top hinge and the AT4040 at the bottom hinge and stood there closing and opening the door at different speeds. The results were pretty great.

Next was the sound of a bird flying away. I actually have a 'bird cloth' I use for birds coming in to land. It's a shiny, lint-free cloth but sounds quite 'birdy' because of a dry, scratchy label that sticks out of the side. But for a bird taking off, this cloth doesn't sound quite right. So for this I have a pair of leather gloves. If you hold them both by the wrist bands in one hand, letting the gloves hang down, and shake your arm up and down it sounds rather like a bird flapping. You can also twist your arm from side to side, or hold one glove in each of your hands and flap them around. So I watched a couple of videos of crows and ravens taking off to get the timing right, added some quiet 'bird leaping from branches' sounds using twigs from the garden and a couple of quiet cheeping sounds from a bird sound library, and there you go.

These will be placed at random places around the forest and triggered randomly from a distance. The player character is programmed to look at the source of the sound and gasp as these events happen, to add realism.

Ok, that's it from me. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

Until next time!

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